“The sting of remembrance in the back of your heart – it will come and go until you learn to differentiate between closure and disguised denial.” Noor Shirazie
Sheila and her husband had been separated for a year.
Although she had been holding out hope for a reconciliation, not a single thing had changed between them in the last year.
She began showing up differently inside the relationship in an attempt to feel as though she was giving it her very best effort.
She would ask lots of questions and attempt to engage him in meaningful conversation. She would be curious about him and talk about things that interested him.
She would invite him to go do things together, but his preference was always to stay home and watch television.
She desperately wanted to understand why he wasn’t putting forth more of an effort. After all, didn’t he realize that if things didn’t change, divorce was the inevitable outcome? He said he didn’t want his marriage to end, but he wasn’t doing anything to change it.
And Sheila wanted to understand why. Why wouldn’t he reach out to her more often? Why wouldn’t he communicate with her about things that really mattered? Why was his answer to her questions more often than not, “I don’t know”?
She didn’t understand it.
She knew that he loved her, at least as much as he could love someone. And she didn’t feel as though she were asking for the impossible. She told me, “I need closure.”
But the truth is, Sheila didn’t need closure. She had all the answers she needed based upon his actions (or inactions). She just didn’t like that answer.
Sheila’s husband may not be able to articulate why he doesn’t want the marriage to end, but he also doesn’t want to do anything differently than what they’ve always done as a couple. He’s shown that through his consistent inactions.
And he gets that option. He gets to choose what he’s willing to do and not do inside the marriage…
And he gets to live with the outcome of his choices.
But Sheila gets to choose as well. She gets to choose whether or not what he’s offering today inside the relationship works for her.
Sometimes, we have to believe people when they tell us through their actions that they’re not interested in changing anything about themselves or how they show up in the marriage.
Next time you tell yourself you need closure, stop and ask yourself:
“Do I need him to say the words that explain his actions or inactions, or do I just need to believe his actions?”
If you’re attempting to figure out if your marriage can evolve beyond where it is today, or if it’s time to tell yourself some difficult truths, let’s see if I can help you.